Five Running readers share the love for their local FREE parkrun

Parkrun is a timed 5k for runners, joggers and walkers and is a great way to get fit: you’ll meet like-minded people, be part of your community, enjoy the great outdoors on your doorstep and it’s something sporty you can do with the whole family – and your dog! Meet five runners who flag their favourite.

Where: Bryn Bach, South Wales
Course: Flat, fast and scenic
Runner: Dave Kempton, 58, has run 172 parkruns
“As an HGV driver, weekends are sometimes the only time to run. Bryn Bach parkrun is ideal with a flat course in beautiful surroundings. I love the unique way I can take part alongside elite athletes, people with disabilities, youngsters, parents with pushchairs and those with dogs on a lead. A lap of the lake to warm up, 5k, then a lap to cool down means six miles done and time for a shower and a coffee. It’s a great way to finish the week or start the weekend. Beats the M6 every time!”

Where: Colin Glen, Northern Ireland
Course: Urban forest park, hilly
Runner: Conall Jemfrey, 12, from Belfast
“Every week I run the Colin Glen parkrun. I’ve been doing this parkrun since it started last autumn, and I really enjoy it. Although the first 2k is hard work going uphill, the rest going downhill is easier. My favourite bit is Mila’s Lake. Everyone is really encouraging and when I had done 10 parkruns the volunteers got a cake for me! I always feel good after the run.”

Where: Gibside, Gateshead (NT property)
Course: Gibside is an 18th century landscape garden, mixture of concrete paths/trails
Runner: Helen Guy, 34, has run 102 parkruns, volunteered at 29
“I love that parkrun is for everyone; whether you’re fast, slow or somewhere in between. It’s kept me active and means I spend more time with my dad. Although we’re only a small parkrun, we have a great group of regular runners, so you feel part of the community rather than just being another face in the crowd. The fantastic NT surroundings make the challenging ‘inclines’ not seem too bad after all.”

Where: South Oxhey, Hertfordshire
Course: 3-lap grass course, with a big uphill and a fast downhill on each lap!
Runner: Hilary Causer, 49
“I only started running in June 2015. I took part in a local running course for beginners and progressed from that to parkrun, which I really enjoy. I find it’s a helpful measure of how I’m improving. It’s a small, friendly group and I get to chat to experienced runners that I’d never have met without parkrun. It’s so helpful to know they have the same struggles and self-doubt as I do, and their advice and encouragement has really inspired me!”

Tollcross parkrun 2nd Birthday

Stuart with his mum, Anne, who is a regular volunteer

Where: Tollcross, Glasgow
Course: Hilly, 2.5 anti-clockwise loops
Runner: Stuart Rennie, 37
“I have been going to Tollcross parkrun since it started three years ago. 114 runs later I still love it! I’m now a run director, I’ve made lots of new friends, my mental health has improved, and it has helped me become fitter and faster. The community we have made here is really special.”

Find out where your nearest parkrun is at